The Lovebug in Florida: Setting the Record Straight J. P. Cuda and N. C. Leppla
Adult Lovebugs on Flowers
<ul><li>Lovebugs were released by  UF entomologists as part  of an experiment that failed </li></ul><ul><li>Lovebugs eat m...
<ul><li>Lovebugs are not bugs but flies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Order Hemiptera- “True bugs” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orde...
<ul><li>Lovebugs are not native to the US  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emigrated from Central America into  Texas </li></ul></ul...
Distribution of Lovebugs  Map
<ul><li>Lovebugs did not appear in Florida until the late 1940s  </li></ul><ul><li>Lovebugs entered Florida from the Panha...
Lovebug Invasion of Florida
Lovebug Invasion of Florida
Lovebug Invasion of Florida
Lovebug Invasion of Florida
Lovebug Invasion of Florida
<ul><li>Immature or larval stage of the  lovebug is a maggot </li></ul>Did You Know ?
<ul><li>Lovebug larvae require several months to develop into adults </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oct to April- Spring generation...
<ul><li>Female lovebugs larger than males  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deposit ca. 350 eggs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adult lovebug...
<ul><li>Mating begins when females fly  into a swarm of hovering males between 8-10 AM or 4-5 PM </li></ul><ul><li>Larger ...
<ul><li>Several factors contribute to the lovebug problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved pastures (thatch) & cattle produc...
<ul><li>Lovebug mating flights: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Occur Apr-May & Aug-Sept  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reach altitudes...
Lovebug Flight Activity Leppla et al. (1974)
<ul><li>Lovebugs congregate at highway intersections, traffic lights, filling stations, and truck stops </li></ul><ul><li>...
<ul><li>Lovebugs have natural enemies  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Birds eat larvae </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spiders eat adult...
<ul><li>Authors:  J. P. Cuda and N. C. Leppla, IFAS </li></ul><ul><li>University of Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Images:  Mik...
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Lovebugs in Florida

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The Lovebug in Florida:
Setting the Record Straight

J.P. Cuda and N.C. Leppla
University of Florida/IFAS

Published in: Business, Lifestyle
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Lovebugs in Florida

  1. 1. The Lovebug in Florida: Setting the Record Straight J. P. Cuda and N. C. Leppla
  2. 2. Adult Lovebugs on Flowers
  3. 3. <ul><li>Lovebugs were released by UF entomologists as part of an experiment that failed </li></ul><ul><li>Lovebugs eat mosquitoes </li></ul><ul><li>NOT!!! </li></ul>True or False?
  4. 4. <ul><li>Lovebugs are not bugs but flies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Order Hemiptera- “True bugs” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Order Diptera- “Flies” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Family Bibionidae- March flies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Lovebug has other names </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Honeymoon bug </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plecia nearctica Hardy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$@#%&@%$# !!!!!!! </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  5. 5. <ul><li>Lovebugs are not native to the US </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emigrated from Central America into Texas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lovebugs spread east along Gulf Coast </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Louisiana- 1920s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mississippi-1940- type locality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alabama- early 1940s ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>South Carolina- 1975 </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  6. 6. Distribution of Lovebugs Map
  7. 7. <ul><li>Lovebugs did not appear in Florida until the late 1940s </li></ul><ul><li>Lovebugs entered Florida from the Panhandle and eventually migrated southward </li></ul>Did You Know ?
  8. 8. Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  9. 9. Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  10. 10. Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  11. 11. Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  12. 12. Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  13. 13. <ul><li>Immature or larval stage of the lovebug is a maggot </li></ul>Did You Know ?
  14. 14. <ul><li>Lovebug larvae require several months to develop into adults </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oct to April- Spring generation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May to September- Fall generation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lovebug larvae are beneficial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recycle decaying organic matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large numbers found under cow manure </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  15. 15. <ul><li>Female lovebugs larger than males </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deposit ca. 350 eggs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adult lovebugs live only 3- 4 days </li></ul><ul><li>Lovebugs separate on vegetation but not in flight or at night </li></ul><ul><li>Male lovebug’s eyes 4X larger than the female’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help locate potential mates </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  16. 16. <ul><li>Mating begins when females fly into a swarm of hovering males between 8-10 AM or 4-5 PM </li></ul><ul><li>Larger males near bottom of swarms have greater mating success </li></ul><ul><li>Up to 8 males compete for 1 female </li></ul><ul><li>Mating lasts up ca. 56 hrs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(or until smashed by a vehicle) </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  17. 17. <ul><li>Several factors contribute to the lovebug problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved pastures (thatch) & cattle production (manure) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduction in annual burning of woodlands and leaf litter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Banning of DDT for insect control in mid-1960s </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  18. 18. <ul><li>Lovebug mating flights: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Occur Apr-May & Aug-Sept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reach altitudes of 1500 ft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extend several miles over the Gulf of Mexico </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover 25% of Florida’s land area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Occur between 10 AM & 4 PM at a temperature above 82 o F </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  19. 19. Lovebug Flight Activity Leppla et al. (1974)
  20. 20. <ul><li>Lovebugs congregate at highway intersections, traffic lights, filling stations, and truck stops </li></ul><ul><li>Are attracted to exhaust fumes (formaldehyde), hot engines, and vehicle vibrations </li></ul>Did You Know ?
  21. 21. <ul><li>Lovebugs have natural enemies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Birds eat larvae </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spiders eat adults </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humans (vehicles kill adults) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lovebugs are economically important </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bees do not visit flowers infested with lovebugs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clog vehicle radiators, damage paint </li></ul></ul>Did You Know ?
  22. 22. <ul><li>Authors: J. P. Cuda and N. C. Leppla, IFAS </li></ul><ul><li>University of Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Images: Mike Sanford, University of Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed Information on the Lovebug is Available on the Featured Creatures Web Site </li></ul><ul><li>http: //creatures.ifas.ufl.edu </li></ul><ul><li>Entomology & Nematology Department Copyright University of Florida 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>http: //entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu </li></ul>Acknowledgements

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